Saturday, November 28, 2009

Commercials that Reek

Ever notice how perfume and cologne commercials have some of the weirdest (and I use this term LOOSELY) plot lines, ever?

These celebrities and models hawking their signature scent are always roaming in a dreamy field of wildflowers, an enchanted forest, or perhaps paradise beach, and occasionally chasing or being chased by some unattainable love interest*. I find myself with furrowed brows and a tilted head by the end of the 30 (and let's hope not 60) second spot.

I think the tried and true method of the scented samples in magazines are great. Perhaps by saving on commercial advertising, Faith, Reese, Shania, SJP, JLo, and the rest of them can make larger bottles and sell more, or shocker, save the money.

*I can tell you that Scott would not chase me in my perfume as to him, I smell like a grandma (and for the record, I rotate between Ralph Lauren Romance, SJP Lovely, and Estee Lauder Pure White Linen). The 'grandma' business is a constant debate.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Red Shoes

It's a sad day. My red shoes need to be put out to pasture.

I love these shoes. I bought them about 4 years ago on an impromptu trip to Urban Outfitters before I met up for a dinner date with Abs. They were perfect: a lightweight peep toe-wedge, featuring cute cutouts, and of course, were red. Like a LBD, I think every gal needs a good pair of red shoes.

The Red Shoes just called out to me, and I remember I found it odd that they lacked a brand name and their box was just the plain, blank white variety. I know they came in an vanilla color as well, that I believe my friend Krissy later purchased.

They have lived a good life with me. The elastic next to the buckle has been repaired nearly 10 times and they always pulled through. However, I am beginning to walk out of them from the uber-stretched elastic strap and the wedge is looking like hippopotamus skin.

Rest in peace my favorite shoes. You completed many outfits, took me to my first post-college job, were captured in our engagement pictures, and of course, were part of my daily life. And I thank you for that.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Merely a Muggle

Life boils down to two camps, and you must decide which one you belong in:

Harry Potter or Twilight.

I literally wear my Gryffindor badge of honor on my sleeve. I have admitted to anyone that may ask, that I've read the series six times, maybe seven. Who's counting? The world that Rowling created is such a fabulous fantasy, layered with friendship, love, and sacrifice. Her web of this fictional world required extensive planning and research, beyond the story I can appreciate her absolute devotion to all that is the essence of Harry Potter.

Twilight on the other hand, is arguably similar in the fairy tale world that coexists with humans. Though a little more Romeo & Juliet, it captivates readers young and old, just like HP. Granted the fans are primarily women, and I can attest that I fell under Edward's spell. By casting a rather dreamy actor for the role (and I love the venn diagram that it produces with the lovely Rob Pattinson and his humble HP beginnings) it catapulted the character to tangible status. Simply, this page turning series is a harlequin romance. Edward is the perfect man doting on Bella-what other woman wouldn't want the same?

Like many books, movies do not always transfer to the screen. That is a tough pill to swallow as a devoted fan. I bashed my teeth 5 minutes into "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" this summer. It was an utter disappointment. The artistic direction was comepletely lacking. Add to the fact I stood in line for four hours to see the midnight showing and was definitely a grump about its complete crap translation.

Sunday morning, Scott and I went to see "New Moon," when I realized how desperately I wanted to see it. I have read the Twiglight series only once, probably two years ago, or when the last book came out. I didn't have such a fresh mind going into the movie, and after seeing the first which was laughable, knew not to expect much. Did anyone else completely loose it when any of the vampires gave their infamous glare? Jasper in particular has the same exact face in every scene. I just about hear the director saying "I'm going to need a little more vampire brooding." I suppose the book is not always looked to for guidance in these cases.

These books are exciting, adventurous, and engaging stories. One is more of a romance with the other having occasional romantic moments. They are page turners and have made readers out of many children, teens, and adults-I have seen several friends take them up after declaring themselves non-readers. In some ways its exciting to be a part of this fantasy phenomenon, books that may be classics someday (well, I believe Harry to be more likely, but if also judged by Twilight then that as well.) I have such a love for this literature it reminds me of my younger years when I could not get enough Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Babysitters Club.

I am waiting on pins and needles to read New Moon again, borrowed from my sister, but apparently the series is loaned out among many friends. I tried to buy it at Barnes & Noble on Friday but they only had it in hardcover (not a fan) or paperback with the movie cover-NEVER ok. I am hoping the fabulous Costco will have the set in paperback that I can purchase.

Oh, and to answer which camp I am in-very much Harry Potter, but I would still declare Team Edward. Cedric Diggory did come from Hufflepuff you know.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday Confessions

I had to take my belly button ring out for surgery and have not put it back in yet. I think my navel looks slightly deformed, but this could just be from the absence of flair.

Truthfully, I forget I even have it between October and May. When summer roles around and I don bathing suit, I stupidly recall "oh yeah, you're there!" Silly I know.

So Merry Christmas Dad. One daughter loses a ring, another gains. At least you are at a net zero!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Things I Will Never Understand

I think it's pretty fair to say many people do a lot of deep thinking on their drive to work. It's a period of self-reflection, and for me, channel surfing away from morning talk, except for Ralph's Showbiz Report on KROQ.

I often have ideas for blogs during this period, and make my mental to-do lists that I am convinced I'll remember, yet never do.

On a recent drive, I started thinking about things that I will just never understand, in no particular order.

1. Workaholics. Perhaps it would be a different story if I owned my own business, however life is too short and my personal life and time are too much a priority.

2. Chronic exaggerators. So funny to hear a shared experience from one of these people when all you can think is "when did any of that happen?"

3. People who must "reply all" when it's completely unnecessary.

4. Negative Nancy attitudes on FB, Twitter, and the like. There is a lot of crap in this world. We can always find something positive to say. The fact that you have an Internet connection is amazing itself for some.

5. Star Trek

6. Dead fish/limp noodle handshakes. Ladies no excuses. Men, really?

7. How someone figured out to look inside pineapples, coconuts, pomegranates, and other crazy fruit to find something edible inside.

8. Why social equality is still not commonplace in this world.

9. Pple wHo MUST tyPE in tha maNNeR daT ILLUSTRATES tHEiR inteLLagUnce LEVEL. And excessive use of the <3 and ♥.

10. Lactose intolerance. Just seems like a cruel joke on those who suffer from it. I could not live without cheese and don't know how others do it. Hats off to you. I am happy to share your chocolate milk.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Back to Work Recap

This concludes the week that I returned to work post surgery and wow its been a doozy.

I wore a skirt Monday-Wednesday, and yesterday due to immense fatigue and cold weather, I had no energy to shave my legs and thus had to wear pants. Big mistake. The waistband and fabric rubbed the swollen incision every time I stood, sat, or moved at all. Today will be another dress, though this experience has told me I do not own enough skirts/dresses and of those only two accommodate tights. I can't do colored tights or leggings, so it's black only and my husband suggested nude but then I would feel in costume or that I'd regressed back to the dance team and forgotten to take them off for the day following the morning rehearsal. Perhaps this illuminates more fashion phobias I need to get over. It will likely leggings before colored tights.

My energy levels have been ok. Usually around the afternoon I am most fatigued and sore but only due to the increased movement. It's a hurdle I need to conquer, but none too quickly.

Overall, some days are better than others. Shooting pain can't be helped much when I am out of my prescription because my doctor has weaned me off, though ibuprofen does a great stand in job. I had some long days due to catch up and deadlines, but as they say, c'est la vie.

I am thankful to have good friends there to check on me to make sure I am not lifting anything (Leah and Cristal) and of course just doing well throughout the day (Andrea). Thank you guys :)

All I can say at this point is TGIF. After three weeks off that feeling came back real quick.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Taking on Twitter

I have been using Twitter for a couple months now after much resistance from those who loved it. Because blogging has really become a part of my life, I can see the appeal that Twitter offers as a lead in to that, as well as the platform for mini-blogs, connecting with new people, marketing a business, and simply following friends in their daily lives.

Like many, my resistance retort was simply "I have nothing interesting to say." My thoughts tend to be mostly work/personal life/random to-do lists, but certainly sandwiched between a few illuminating ideas, if I may say I can conjure a few, and random rants of course. I figured the few brilliant ideas were worth the sign up, and so it began.

Being an active follower of many blogs, I enjoy being able to see what these people are doing in real time, because I already have found something in common with them. It's also great having a glimpse into what my real life friends are up to, though it never makes up for dinner dates with you CLI ;) And the ability to follow such influential individuals could not be any more accessable-President Obama, Dodgers baseball, Ellen DeGeneres, Taylor Swift, and Candace Cameron Bure (please cue Monica Gellar-"I know!")

Twitter is a powerful tool for business, though I doubted its capabilities at first. As my social media guru Rayanne continues to impress, the social media platforms of the world are not going anywhere-time to embrace them.

I suppose my one issue with Twitter revolves around member usage. I don't quite understand the conversations that take up my screen between people-isn't that the point of a direct message or good old fashioned email, or instant messanger? Don't get me wrong, two or three conversations between people is fine, but 30 tweets back and forth is so silly. I understand you only have 140 characters but it floods my page. Of course I could just not follow these people anymore, but I do enjoy what they have to say when I don't feel like a creepy eavesdropper.

Do you have a love/hate relationship with Twitter too?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday Confessions

I am always the optimistic one. Sometimes it's hard to take a dose of your own medicine.

It will be fine.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Peeping Toe

Seems I tend to gravitate towards one shoe type.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Spinach & Artichoke Dip for Dinner

Thank you Rachael Ray, you have turned my favorite appetizer into a meal that is even figure friendly. Make this and enjoy.

*The recipe serves four, so I halved everything just for two and it still made nearly enough for four people.

  • 1 pound whole-wheat penne pasta
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 (15-ounce) can artichoke hearts, defrosted, drained and quartered
  • 1 small bundle farm fresh spinach, stems trimmed
  • 1 shallot, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock, just eyeball the amount
  • A handful fresh mint leaves (I left these out-but next time might use red pepper flakes for some kick)
  • A handful lightly toasted slivered almonds
  • Kosher salt or freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 large clove garlic - peeled
  • A handful grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (This is EXPENSIVE cheese! I opted for tubbed Romano and it was great, for way less)

Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring up it up to a boil to cook the pasta, season with some salt and cook to al dente, according to package directions. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the cooking water.

Heat 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil in medium nonstick skillet. Add artichokes to heat through and lightly brown at edges.

To clean spinach, fill sink with water, swish spinach around and let grit fall to bottom of sink. Dry leaves before using.

In the bowl of a food processor add the shallot, 1/2 cup chicken stock, spinach leaves, mint, almonds and salt and pepper, to taste. If you have a hand held small-holed grater or a zester, grate garlic into the food processor. Adding a whole clove can result in stray big pieces of raw garlic, too bitter to bite down on. If you do not have a hand held grater, mince garlic and mash up into paste with a little salt. Turn processor on and add in about 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil.

Scrape the spinach pesto into the artichoke pan and loosely cover with foil. Bring mixture to a simmer over low to medium-low heat and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the reserved pasta cooking water, the pasta and the cheese. Toss to coat the pasta with the sauce and heat for 1 minute. Transfer to a serving bowl or platter, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fancy Phone

I have finally joined the fancy phone club. It took a number of years, but my techie husband has been salivating for the Google Droid phone and this past weekend he divorced us from at&t and we went back to Verizon.

I also selected a Droid phone, but it's not the developer coveted one that he picked-it's step sister is my guess, by HTC, where his is Motorola. It's pretty fabulous though. I love having my email, Twitter, and Facebook at the fingertips. How did I ever get by before?!?! I would wager that it's quite similar to the iPhone with a few differences. I am enjoying the navigation and information that is at my fingertips.

I decided that I needed to make the switch from the text/call variety to smart phone mostly because of the need for mapping and Internet access. There have been so many times as of late that I have needed directions or a phone number that could have been simply provided by a browser.

So far I am digging the phone and can see how much of a tool it becomes with its capabilities. I am also now addicted to the silliest of games, Abduction. If you have the phone or its available on others, check it out. Thank me later.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sunday Confessions

I refuse to watch scary movies. This bums out Scott because he really wishes I would watch them with him, but certain types absolutely terrify me.

Commercials terrify me for certain flicks that are currently in theatres right now. I kid you not-absolutely freak me out.

I lie in bed and night while he sleeps listening to noises that I can't explain and my brain runs wild with possibilities.

I realize this takes down my fun meter, however I am very aware of my limitations. Sometimes the cheery movie following a conceding ok (which rarely happens) doesn't even help. Taylor Swift on SNL last night-nope didn't do it when I woke up sweating from a dream following our viewing of the Ted Bundy movie last night. I would have rather lost brain cells watching Ed Bundy on "Married with Children." A little reprieve was the terrible screenplay and acting in the movie, but the fact that it was based on a real person did not escape me.

I am watching all the HGTV and TLC today that I want.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Food Network Junkie

J'adore the Food Network. I am so envious at the speed in which they move and most of the meals they come up with. (I say most because some foods I will never be a fan of.)

However, there are some shows that I will stop what I am doing to catch, or feel like such a lucky duck if I am home early enough from work to see:

Everyday Italian & Giada at Home
Is there anything that Giada De Laurentiis makes that is not amazing? Her Italian recipes and modern favorites are simply delectable. And she loves wine and cheese-my kind of gal.

30 Minute Meals with Rachael Ray
Honestly, I am not a fan of Rachael herself. Her voice and overwhelming gestures kind of grate on my nerves, however, I like her concept of quick meals, even if she moves at warp speed and I can't always do them under 30 minutes.

Paula's Home Cooking with Paula Deen
It goes without saying this one loves her trans fats-as do I! I actually prefer more of Paula's desserts than meals, because I can justify the butter in cake/brownies/treats more than entrees that would otherwise remain healthy with other alternatives.

Barefoot Contessa with Ina Garten
Confession-I actually used to change the channel when Barefoot Contessa came on. I was a young fool, what can I say. I love watching her, with her fabulous ingredients and rich, satisfying meals and desserts. She is comforting to listen to as well-I am always at ease with her on in the background.

And now for the "Needs Improvement"

Semi Homemade with Sandra Lee
Love her concept with the store-bought/homemade ratio. Do not like her matchy-matchy set. It is really distracting and I can't concentrate on what she is making because I am consumed by the drapes/apron/lipstick/hardware/towels/napkins all coordinating. Nobody's home looks like that.

Down Home with the Neely's
Oh my. Is anyone else uncomfortable watching them? I understand they are very much in love but it's borderline wanna be Down Home with the Naked Neely's. They seem like really sweet people but ultimately it's too much PDA for me.

I love the inspiration these shows provide me for it eventually puts dinner on the table. I certainly am not creative enough to come up with week after week of new entrees, and I love that watching them is informative and cathartic after a long day as well.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Surgery Recovery-One Week

Let's see it's been 12 days since surgery, and the time has flown by.

Each day I find something I can do a little bit better, and they are huge milestones:

-I was able to walk downstairs to the mailbox several times this week. Granted I was ready for a major rest upon my return, but it was progress.

-I can sleep on my left side during the night (clutching a pillow to my stomach), which is amazing because I am normally a side sleeper, but have been restricted to my back. Scott is loving it as I don't sprawl/nudge/take over the bed that way. I do require a pillow underneath my knees still, as my body feels like it's stretching to its capacity while flat. I am pretty much one giant lump in bed with all of the pillows.

-I can bend down and pick things up that fall onto the floor, such as my Chapstick which Atticus likes to chase under the couch.

-My appetite is slowly returning. Some tastes have changed, and I hope it's only temporarily, as a need for coffee is virtually non-existent. Scott did make steak and ahi tuna two evenings, both of which I really enjoyed.

I am grateful for all of the well wishes, cards, and calls from friends and family-they really brighten the day and are sincerely appreciated.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Anniversary Pictures

A few weeks ago, Joel Maus of Studio EMP took anniversary pictures for Scott and I, as a nod to the first anniversary gift which is paper. Scott was a total trooper, seeing as it was something that made me happy and I am so glad we did. Cheers to many more years together and a break from picture sessions!

My personal favorite

And we continue to live happily ever after...

Sunday, November 1, 2009


I have always known how blessed I am in life, growing up in loving family, having great friends, a safe place to live, enriching activities, and opportunities to grow.

Many of my friends and associates are involved in different causes from cancer fundraising to domestic violence support groups, and service organizations. There is no doubt that I believe in all of these efforts and support them whenever I can. I simply have not found one that has resonated with me in a way that has moved me to actually give beyond a donation--the gift of time, or even grassroots advocacy.

In 2006 and 2007 Scott journeyed to Africa to experience an adventure and time out of the OC bubble with our friend who works for Invisible Children, a San Diego-based nonprofit that works dilligently to educate the west about the war atrocities taking place in Africa, specifically Northern Uganda and surrounding areas. Scott spent 2-3 months there each summer for two years and I know that it changed him as a person, in the most positive of ways. If interested in learning about the history of this deplorable 23-year war, click here.

Last night, we were pleasantly surprised to catch a great documentary on Netflix-"War Dance." The movie struck a chord with Scott, discussing the war, internally displaced person (IDP) camps, and even featured a great friend. The movie showcases a remote village, Potongo, and the children there competing in a music competition in Kampala. Through three featured kids, the documentarians, much like Invisible Children's, captured their stories of survival, struggle, and the most resiliance one can even imagine.

This movie, and Scott's experiences there, really make me ponder how lucky I am to have been born in a location that is safe and free of warfare. The same goes for places in the Middle East and other areas of strife and supression. Religion and theology aside, I do not think anyone has a choice of where they are born. I see the simple needs these people have for a comfortable sleep each night, safe travels, and fearless living.

I understand my feeble blog post isn't going to change anything. However, if someone reads it and possibly watches the movie and sees the dire situation there, passes it along to a friend and so on, perhaps more individuals will see these people, who receives virtually no recognition by the press and government.

Protecting humanity is an issue I will stand up for. Life is never fair, but there are basic needs in life that should be met, no matter the culture or location, and acts of atrocity need to be addressed and the consequences fierce.

We are all human and deserve to live in a neighborhood, if not a world, of peace.

Sunday Confessions

Today I woke up and had a response tweet from Stacy London on Twitter.

Four words directed at me. It was beautiful and possibly the most memorable November 1st in my life.